Daryl Grigsby: Introducing … The BIPOC Council For Equity
For those of us fortunate enough to live in Nevada County, even in these most trying of times, we are reminded of the benefits of residence here. It is a great place to live because of its geographic beauty and the people who live here.
Yet, like the rest of America, we live in the shadow of a difficult history that is often forgotten. We all live on lands that were never ceded or purchased. This place we all call home, once belonged to the original people, the Nisenan, and they belonged to the land.
The Nisenan cared for our beloved place long before it was invaded for gold and treasure. Nisenan survivors remain here today and seek inclusion in the community. They are among the many diverse groups who currently inhabit our beautiful county.
According to the most recent census, 85% of the 99,700 residents of Nevada County are white, and the rest of the county consists of Hispanics, Native Americans. African-Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Smaller subgroups within a larger population — whether they be religious, racial or political — often need and seek venues where they can share experiences with people with whom they have a common bond.
In Nevada County, a group called The BIPOC Council For Equity began connecting virtually in the last few weeks. While the group was motivated by the racial struggles emerging from the murder of George Floyd, it was also the result of a long-term desire for those who identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) to connect with each other.
Tracy Pepper, founder of the non-profit Color Me Human, initiated the first meeting of The BIPOC Council For Equity. Tracy reached out to as many people as she knew who identified as BIPOC and invited them to the first meeting.
The meetings to date have been energizing, inspiring and encouraging. At the first few sessions the group discussed and decided on the organization’s mission. The Council’s mission is noted below:
“We are a group of Black, Indigenous, and people of color here in Nevada County actively working to build a support network for one another, assess and advocate our collective needs and better educate ourselves on how each BIPOC sub-community is differently situated in the racial hierarchy and differently affected by issues.
We are a coalition by and for the disenfranchised; working together to stand against injustice in all its forms. This is a space to discuss and work towards what benefits us all. It is not a space to further alienate individuals. This movement is bigger than all of us! Many struggles, one fight.”
We know that time is limited, and the pandemic profoundly impacts public health, the economy, education and every phase of our lives. Therefore, The BIPOC Council of Equity created subcommittees where smaller groups of people could strategize on specific areas of interest.
Currently the subcommittees are: art and culture, law enforcement, legislation, policy and relationship-building, health and wellness, schools and education, BIPOC business support, and outreach. There are challenges and needs in each of these areas, and the BIPOC Council of Equity is excited to be part of the solution.
One fundamental premise of The Council is that we are part of the community, and yet, are not the entire community. The group seeks to collaborate with others to achieve common goals. We believe the community is not whole unless we are a part, and The Council is not fulfilled unless we are part of the whole. Nevada County is not all white, and is not all BIPOC. It is both; and the overall vision of BIPOC is to insure every single person in the county is respected, welcomed and has the opportunity to develop into a contributing member of the community — for the good of us all.
As the subcommittee work progresses, there will be future notifications to the broader community on events and opportunities. In addition, anyone who identifies as BIPOC and is interested in joining the organization should contact Tracy Pepper through the website http://www.ColorMeHuman.org. As a new organization there is much work to be done; and all meaningful work takes place in community. The Council looks forward to contributing to the well-being of the BIPOC population in particular and to the entire community in general.
Daryl Grigsby lives in Nevada City.
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